One writer mentioned on her blog that she hates it when other writers have word count widgets on their blogs. It was as if they were showing off how much writing they got done. She didn’t do word counts herself because there were times when she took writing out and replaced it, and then the word count stayed the same even though she might have had a perfectly good day’s writing under her literary belt.
I have word count meters on my blog, but not for the reasons the aforementioned writer says. I have a word count meter because first, it lets my readers know I’m working on something, and what it is, and second, (and most importantly), it helps motivate ME. It’s not about showing off. That becomes obvious when you realize that I have the same issue the blogger/writer said. I often rewrite from notes in the document. Once that’s done, I delete the notes, and that often makes me break even on word count. So it’s not about crowing that I got so much work done, it’s about motivating myself in any way possible toward reaching a goal. And if you do enough writing, often enough, you eventually get that word count up anyway until the book is completed. So it doesn’t matter if the meter breaks even some days. On other days, it won’t. I also like looking down at the toolbar in Word and seeing that number rising. Again, it’s about motivation. If I see that I’ve just put down 300 words, there’s a little niggling voice that says try for 300 more…and I usually do.
Hey, whatever it takes.
I have been struggling to get back in my writing groove for a couple of years now, and that’s not something I’ve ever had to deal with before. Until now, I’ve never known what it was like to struggle with writing. But after seeing an article that came up on one of my Google Alerts, and giving it some deeper thought, it finally sunk in on a conscious level that this dilemma has a great deal to do with who I am, physiologically
As a person with SPS (Sensory Processing Sensitivity) or more commonly referred to as HSP – (Highly Sensitive Person) –a moniker I don’t care for as the connotation is misleading–I was reminded of how crucial it is for me to be in control of my environment. I need to have my routines and rituals to comfort me, free my mind from those things that would create a vortex for the creativity to irretrievably fall into (vorTEXT…there’s a joke in there somewhere…but I’m too distracted to think about it). For me, this vortex gets created by chaos, big changes, too many people, too much to do, and missing creature comforts, mostly. This is a sure way for me to become so distracted and uneasy, that I find it almost impossible to tap into either the work ethic or the creativity. And the past few years have been a circus of chaos and change. My chi has been fucked with to the nth degree for far too long.
So I acknowledge the sound reasons why my productivity has waned, while continuing to simultaneously seek solutions and be gentle with myself. It’s a precarious balance.
As I get older, I am more fearful rather than less so. I feel the creep of Age and all that comes stuffed in its pockets. I feel my mortality. Feel how tenuous life is, how precious time is and how inextricably we are caught in the linear-ness of it. I actually get PISSED OFF when I look at the clock and see that more time has passed. How dare it? It keeps ticking away and the only thing that can stop it, is the thing I wish to avoid the most. Irony, through and through.
The article I mentioned refers to a Keats poem which I somehow missed in all those literature classes…but it did speak as if from my own head and heart….
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high grav’d books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to Nothingness do sink.
I have always had a profound fear that I will never live long enough to write all the books I wish to write. I also fear losing my great Love–the One it took me so long to find. Perhaps the only thing I fear as much is just suffering some horrible illness, but even that is connected to the fear of a premature demise. It always seems doubly tragic whenever the world loses great minds, creative people who have given us so much, and as a creative person, I feel a great responsibility to put my work out there. It’s my duty, my one great reason for existence.
Keats’ paradox in the metaphor of the ripened grain–that he is both the harvest and the harvester, is true as well for me. Or for any creative person. I am essentially a book, as well as the creator of the book. I create myself each time I go through this process. The creator and the created.
As a person with SPS, it’s easy to feel apart from the world, and having someone to love is equal parts comforting and fearful. Having that one great love also brings with it the fear of losing that one great love. The proverbial double-edged sword. The sword I hope not to fall upon in my passion to avoid that which frightens me (can you say self-fullfiling prophesy?).